At one point in the third period of Sunday night’s game, Detroit Red
Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi jostled with a defender and as the puck moved back
up the ice, Bertuzzi looked at an official and held up his hands as if to say,
“are you gonna call me for that one too?”
Bertuzzi certainly had reason to be on edge. He had already
been whistled for two penalties by that point and served another. It was just
that kind of night for Detroit, as they lost 4-3 to the San Jose Sharks to fall down
0-2 in their best-of-seven series.
Even in the first period it was evident that the Sharks came out
fast while the Red Wings looked a little out of sorts. Forty seconds in, San Jose was already on the power-play, as Detroit goalie Jimmy
Howard was called for interference.
Penalties – all 20 minutes of them – proved to be the Red
Wings’ undoing this time. Instead of earning a split in San
Jose, they now head back to Detroit
in a must-win situation if they hope to make this a long series. Instead of a
split, they’re down two games to none, a scenario the Red Wings haven’t faced
since 2003 when they were swept in the first round by the Ducks.
It’s amazing that even with all the penalties, the Red Wings
still had a shot to win the game. In the opening period, the two teams’
sharpshooters went back and forth, trading goals and it looked like Detroit might win in the
Pavel Datsyuk fired a rocket to give Detroit the 1-0 lead, firing the puck under
Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov’s arm.
San Jose answered right back with Joe Pavelski netting a
power-play tally before setting up Ryane Clowe with a pass that Clowe
redirected between his legs to give the Sharks the 2-1 lead.
The Red Wings
answered in turn with goals from Tomas Holmstrom and Nicklas Lidstrom to take a
3-2 lead early in the second period.
Unlike their sluggish start in Game 1, the Red Wings had an
answer for everything the Sharks put up; that is until the third period when
the penalties put Detroit
on the defensive for most of the period. Pavelski banged another goal home on
the power-play and Joe Thornton scored the go-ahead goal on a 3-on-2 later on
in the period when Lidstrom broke his stick with the Wings on the offensive.
Even then it was only 4-3 and Detroit had a chance to tie. But in the final
minute the Red Wings were derailed again by a penalty, this time, for too many
men on the ice.
Penalties may have been the main problem for Detroit in Game 2, but
the Sharks were better in several other categories too. They won more faceoffs.
They had more takeaways. They had more shots on goal.
Simply put, the Sharks are playing better and more
controlled than the Red Wings and they’ve got a firm command of the series as a
result. The Red Wings have made mistakes and the Sharks have pounced on them.
What more is there to say of Pavelski? He’s on fire and the Wings haven’t stopped him. He’s to the Sharks what Johan Franzen was to Detroit in 2007: a
playoff scoring machine. With all the threats the Sharks have, one guy is
having his way with Detroit.
The Red Wings aren’t playing too bad; but they need to be
much better.They’ve put the Sharks in a prime position. The Sharks only have to earn a split in the next two games to finish off the series back home on Saturday. That is assuming the series goes five games.
Detroit is certainly getting scoring from all through the lineup;
five players have scored the Red Wings six goals. But they’re been hurt by mistakes. In
Game 1, their problem was a sluggish few minutes of the first period. Sunday,
it was penalties. They must play a mistake-free game with fewer penalties, and
some key players have to get going.
second line of Henrik Zetterberg-Bertuzzi-Valtteri Filppula is scoreless for
the series and has been well defended by Sharks defensemen such as Dan Boyle. Howard
has played well and made some huge saves in Game 2, but ultimately he just saw
too much of the Sharks and they put pucks past him. A friendly crowd at home
may be just what he needs to get going in this series.
Through all the injuries they incurred during the regular
season, the Red Wings maintained that they would rebound in time for the
playoffs and everything would be fine.
Now’s their chance to show it.